New Products: Spotlighting Yours at the SEMA Show

SEMA News—September 2013

CHRIS KERSTING

New Products:

Spotlighting Yours at the SEMA Show

Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO Each year, SEMA commissions an internal study to help association staff understand how to make the SEMA Show better. Based on thousands of interviews with exhibitors and attendees, it’s a study that contains valuable insights about the SEMA Show for the association. Of those insights, perhaps the most valuable takeaway is that new products are the force that drive the Show, yet many exhibitors don’t utilize successful Show features that highlight their products.

Our surveys tell us that 87% of buyers consider new products their number-one priority when the Show opens. Not surprisingly then, we see that roughly three-quarters of buyers visit the New Product Showcase at some point during the Show.

The New Product Showcase just might be the single most valuable feature of the Show. As ground zero for the industry’s annual product explosion, the New Product Showcase plays a central role in the exchange of information between buyer and seller. For us, it’s a section where bringing a massive task force to the operation is warranted, and innovation is a high priority.

A few years ago we introduced laser scanners and bar codes. By using these scanners as they move from product to product, buyers can capture product information at the speed of light. That information can be e-mailed to your address or downloaded in several formats, including one for your smartphone. Exhibitors, in turn, can look at the data to identify potentially new customers, even new market segments. So the laser scanning system is a win-win for buyers and exhibitors alike.

A new enhancement planned for this year is to add more extensive data fields into the product descriptions to improve compatibility with industry data standards.

We’ve long worked to promote media access, developing a system where every new product is professionally photographed upon delivery to the Showcase and posted so that media can download product content all year long. We also make the Showcase a focal point for international media who provide feedback for Global Media Awards. This year’s new enhancement to our media efforts includes an exciting new collaboration with Crane Communications’ Autoweek magazine. The details will be announced soon, but we can say that Autoweek expects their audience for SEMA new-product content will reach into the millions. To learn more about Autoweek’s SEMA Collection digital marketplace, visit here.

This is all by way of saying that this year, more than ever, entering a product into the New Product Showcase is probably the single smartest marketing move an exhibitor could make. There is no charge for the first new product, and additional products can be entered for $75 a piece. We’ve streamlined the process of entering the product, with professional teams standing by to help save time, and we have recruited a partner in UPS to simplify return shipping after the Show closes.

While the deadline for entering new products is approaching, we do keep the section open right up until opening day for those exhibitors who bring in newly minted items. On the other hand, even if the hot product you bring to the Show isn’t strictly new, we have a place for it in the Showcase where it can be seen by thousands of buyers who may not have attended the Show last year.

Even though every exhibitor is eligible to participate, our survey tells us that many exhibitors do not yet take advantage of the New Product Showcase. Meanwhile, we see that those exhibitors who actually do participate also make up the group that reports the highest ratings for Show results. If your company is not taking advantage of the New Product Showcase, visit here to see the easy “next steps” to participate. We know it works, so we’re hoping to see every exhibitor, and every attendee, get in on the success that the New Product Showcase generates.

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